When used as a verb, Make means produce something. Fake has a similar, but negative, meaning as counterfeit something. In addition, Forge can mean either, depending on the context.

My question is about Forge: When is it neutral (as Make) and when is it negative (as Fake)?

For example, can we say forge friendship with somebody? Is that describing their friendship as solid as metal (which is good), or implying their friendship is superficial and untrue (which is bad)?

1 Answer 1


It only means "fake" in the context of something that people are like want to create a duplicate of. For example:

He forged his mother's signature.

It suggests a technically good copy.

The adjective use nearly always relates to a fake

A forged £20 note.

In other uses, when the context suggests "creation", not "duplication", the meaning is "make", in a forge (either literally or figuratively)

He forged a sword from steel.
The women forged a close friendship.

  • Thank you, man. But this made me feel this word is somewhat unsafe to use because it depends on the listener's correct understanding about the context proposed by the speaker, which is not always clear. For example this sentence: Alice forged a friendship with Bob then deceived him. Does it sound like: Alice forged a friendship with Bob (to earn his trust) then deceived him. or Alice forged a friendship with Bob then (suffered from mental disorder and) deceived him.
    – Cyker
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 9:45
  • 1
    A "friendship" is not something that is "duplicated" so the "fake" meaning is impossible in that context
    – James K
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 14:09
  • Typically when the word "forge" is used in a negative context it's in regards to the crime of forgery. (Wikipedia article here)
    – Alexander
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 16:35

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